A nationwide study of teenage drivers has produced some interesting results. States have made stricter laws and regulations for teenagers who are in the process of getting their driver’s license, whether its requiring more classroom time, more driving time with an instructor or putting limits on the hours young teens can drive from or how many passengers they are allowed to have in the car.
Initially the states were seeing a decrease in the number of fatalities of teenagers involved in a car accident. They initially decreased in the mid 90’s by as much as 30% in some states, according to The New York Times. However, if you take a step back, the stats can be a little misleading.
“Most of the prior studies on graduated driver licensing have only looked at 16-year-olds,” said Scott Masten of the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the lead author on the study. “When you look at the bigger picture across 18- and 19- year olds, it looks like we’re offsetting those saved crashes. In fact, 75% of the fatal crashes we thought we were saving actually just occurred two years later. It’s shocking.”
There still has been an overall improvement in reducing teenage car accidents, but most of them have just been delayed a few years.
“The bottom line is there is still a net overall savings from introducing all these programs,” say Masten. “So we are saving teen drivers over all, but it’s not nearly what we thought it would be.”
Continuing education for young drivers may help buck this trend. Educating and driving with instructors has been shown to work for 16-year-olds, and states need to look into continuing the process for several years, at least to refresh young drivers.
Bonnici Law Group—San Diego personal injury attorney.